God gave Adam and Eve the following command, followed by a cause

Genesis 2:17- But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. KJV

Even so, they ate and still lived a long life, not dying in the same day

Genesis 5:5- And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died. KJV

Is it as simple as "day" referring to a different period of time than it refers to today?


And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” NIV

The NIV does not make this implication. Perhaps you would get better answers on Hermeneutics.

KJV was written in English for the common man ... in the 17th century! English and many of its words have changed much since. It is entirely possible that this has to do with the KJV practically being an ancient manuscript that should be read from the perspective of its intended audience.

Since Adam and Eve did not die on that exact day it is safe to say that the translators did not intend to give that impression in Genesis 2:17. So there must be another explanation of what they meant by it. The most likely, I would say is that the word day at the time or in this context does not necessarily mean between sun up and sun down. What it means exactly in this case I cannot say. That is why I suggest the Hermeneutics site.

Some might argue that die means something other than actual death, but I really don't buy that, but that is strictly my opinion and not really part of your question. If you take one of those perspectives it could easily answer this question for you, though.

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  • This answer is misleading. That the NIV doesn't make this implication is actually a FAULT in the translation. The answer is that they did die that day, just like the text says (and NIV fails to make clear). Your opinion is not representative of generic Christian doctrine on this issue. – Caleb Mar 13 '13 at 20:09
  • @Caleb That sounds highly interpretive to me. That's why I suggested OP take this to Hermeneutics. I would not have selected my own answer, but it was too long for a comment. – fгedsbend Mar 13 '13 at 20:13
  • An answer is not the place to suggest a different place to ask, that would be time to VTC and comment. As for whether my take on this is interpretive: of course it is. So is this answer. The difference is that one the interpretation I'm giving you is much more representative of Christian interpretation and fits with the rest of scripture in a way that this does not. – Caleb Mar 13 '13 at 20:15
  • Your second paragraph is also all scrambled up. Did you mean "translators" or "authors". The translators in this case are problematic, the issue is what the authors meant when they said something equivalent to "that day" in the original. The NIV has omitted the detail, presumably because they didn't think it was important to interpreting the text. Their translation choice doesn't imply that "there must be another explanation", only that THEY might have had something else in mind. – Caleb Mar 13 '13 at 20:18
  • @Caleb Yes, I meant translators because I cannot speak to the original language or the authors. That is for Hermeneutics. I mean to show that this is clearly an issue with exact words and their difference, and it seems clear to me that NIV and KJV do not really say the same thing. Further, I made no attempt to answer from 'death actually means x' perspective because I do not think that is actually the answer to the question. The answer clearly lies in the original Hebrew and the pros at Hermeneutics can probably answer exactly where I only answered that I think it is a translation thing. – fгedsbend Mar 13 '13 at 20:25

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